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copyright 2018, Susan DeLay

Shortly after Americans are reasonably sure there will be six more weeks of winter, regardless of what the groundhog says, we shell out the equivalent of a mortgage payment on guacamole, chips, wings and Budweiser, and gather for the second biggest food fest of the year—the Super Bowl.

Reasons to Watch to Super Bowl

Granted some fans go to the parties to watch the best-of-the-best in commercials. And some show up at the party for the spread and a few plates of the 1.35 billion wings (with ranch or blue cheese) served on Super Bowl Sunday.

Die-hard NSYNC fans will not want to miss Justin Timberlake’s halftime show. It’s his third. The last time was 14 years ago when the performance included Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. Hard to tell what might happen this year.

Pennsylvania-born singer/songwriter Pink, who is slated to sing the National Anthem before the coin toss, signed on to deliver one of the most musically challenging songs ever before she knew her favorite team, the Philadelphia Eagles would be vying for the championship ring. Pink has a horse in this race.

And Then There’s the Football

AFC champions the New England Patriots return to the Super Bowl for the 10th time to try to capture their sixth ring. They’ll face the NFC’s champion team the Philadelphia Eagles who have won three national championships—the last one in 1960. So it’s fair to say the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl because the first Super Bowl was in 1967.

Gotta Love an Underdog

Despite the excitement around Philadelphia’s 2017 winning season, the Eagles are the underdogs. To be fair, any team facing quarterback Tom Brady is officially an underdog, unless it’s a game of trivia, where apparently he’s a loser. (Don’t feel badly for him. He’s a loser with a net worth of $180 million.)

The Eagles take their underdog status with a wink and a smile. Following their win against the Atlanta Falcons that locked them in as Super Bowl LII contenders, the Eagles players pulled on dog masks and let the barking begin. Dogs and barking—underdogs, get it? The crowd got it and they went crazy. Call me Polly Purebred, but I love a team with a self-deprecating sense of humor.

I Need a Horse in the Race

I think going to a Super Bowl party and saying I don’t care who wins sucks some of the fun out of the big day. The game is much more fun when you’re cheering for a particular team. I want a horse in the race, too—just like Pink.

So, this year, I decided my team is the Philadelphia Eagles. This isn’t a decision based on talent. Face it, no team gets to the Super Bowl gridiron without talent. I will be a Philly fan this year partly because I love an underdog. And partly because, as an unapologetic Christian, I have been moved by the number of Christ followers suiting up in the midnight green of the Eagles. May I hear an amen?

Carson Wentz: Born Leader (Born Again Leader)

The clear leader of the team is born leader Carson Wentz, the 24-year-old starting quarterback who leads Bible studies, goes to services at Connect Church in Cherry Hill, NJ with several of his teammates, and started a foundation called Audience of One (AO1). (I think Wentz is a born again leader.) The foundation provides service dogs to Philadelphia youth, outdoor opportunities for those with physical disabilities and military vets in the Midwest, and assistance for underprivileged youth living abroad. As Wentz says, the foundation was created to “demonstrate the love of God.”

The Eagles’ Biggest Cheerleader

Sadly, Wentz won’t be strapping on shoulder pads or a helmet for the big game. He tore an ACL in December and will be on the sidelines, but not as a spectator. He’ll be the team’s most ardent cheerleader.

Win or lose, it seems Wentz will take the game’s outcome with the same attitude he took following his injury. He’ll lean into God and trust Him regardless of who wins. Wentz backs that stance with the Scripture in Proverbs 3:5-6.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Path to the Trophy?

So amidst the commercials, the halftime entertainment, the innocent football pools and the wings (I’ll take mine with blue cheese, please.), I’ll be praying that the talented underdogs are on the path that leads to their first Vince Lombardi trophy.

Fly, Eagles, Fly—on a (hot) wing and a prayer.

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